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Reality's End and Minecraft

Posted on June 1st, 2013 23:59

Did you know that today is the fourteenth-year anniversary of Reality's End? Did you know that every anniversary of this site is usually introduced with "Did you know...?"?

This time around, I'll celebrate a way done only once before -- on the first anniversary. Well, before that, actually: the zeroeth anniversary. Zero comes before one, so the previous statement did make sense.

That's right, every-every, welcome to Reality's End!

No, not this Reality's End. The other one, the new one: www.realitysend.net

I've been squatting on that domain name for a while now, mostly just to prevent the surprising number of Reality's End sites that Google informs me about from taking it and getting closer to my only-one-that-matters .com domain. One day at work recently, however, two separate conversations about Dynamic DNS and Verizon (my current provider) being slow on the draw and lenient about an abusive customer consuming terabytes of bandwidth made me realize that I could probably host a site in my apartment.

Sure, without business class internet (even available, for that matter), the assured uptime would not be enough to, say, host .com on, but it should be more than enough to host some of those things that require openin' up ports for live gaming. Granted, throughout the fourteen year history of Reality's End, I never finished (or at least polished) any of my MMO fare in sure enough a way that would be fit to push out on this newfound server, especially since I brought it up in about a week's time (or a weekend's time, and then sat on it for a week to announce it).

So, instead, say hello to the official Reality's End Minecraft server!

Server
Hmmm, I think it needs a sticker or something.

Yup, that's my baby right there: a Congatec B915 1.8GHz Celeron-M on a bare development boards. This was a leftover from my old job when the office shut down. It was used for a product that was largely being phased out and no one remaining would ever need, let alone even know what to do with it. So, I inherited it in all its offensively orange colored glory (as well as a slew of some other modules).

The thing has some handy power-saving tricks, especially when all of the graphics are turned off. (I am running headless.) It runs pretty cool when the fan cooperates. It rarely does, however, which is why I have a piece of paper jammed in it. Some genius designer thought for some reason that it would be a good idea for the fan to be able to swivel -- despite being attached to an adjustable neck. This point of rotation just causes the blade's useful rotation to jitter in its unnecessary housing, thus providing next to no cooling. By jamming some folded-up paper in there, there is less wiggle room, thus getting rid of the jitter/noise. Unfortunately, even this paper can get knocked a little loose after a while.

My hopes are to adjust the fan to just turn off altogether when the server's load is small enough. Currently, none of the fan controls are showing up in the kernel, and there are only reading capabilities for it in Congatec's API. Thanks a lot, ACPI. Good thing standards exist; otherwise, vendors wouldn't have things not to follow~!

The important thing is that the whole setup is free. It might be a bare board wedged onto a shelf on my kitchen (and sitting on an anti-static bag for easy transport back-and-forth between a VGA monitor when network wasn't coming up, in case you were wondering about that), but it is free and minimalistic!

The OS is just as minimal, too. Of course, it is Linux, but it is also Linux From Scratch. If you ever wondered what it took for a Minecraft server, here's your answer: BusyBox. That's it. Minecraft, Java, and BusyBox. I unsuccessfully tried using JamVM (although not all too hard), but I would be afraid it would come with performance issues, even if I could get it to work.

I worked quite a bit to get a build process up so that I could re-create the entire OS image from source (using the build process from my new workplace). I was thinking about getting an image up for people to flash their own, but I build everything for my crummy 32-bit Celeron. I really don't feel like maintaining images that I don't even have a good way of testing. I like my kernel not having module support, thank you very much! And not much else, at that.

I also had to include some software that wasn't really necessary for the running of a Minecraft server, too. For one, I have a httpd. I should get it up Apache, but since I don't have anything useful running web-side on it right now, BusyBox is again good enough. I also had to include a full version of wget just for HTTPS support. (The Dynamic DNS for my domain is done by pinging a site which uses -- you guessed it -- HTTPS, so I just access it and dump to /dev/null.)

Even with the frivolities, the filesystem comes to a whopping 357M! Only 43M for the actual root filesystem, too -- the rest is for Java and the Minecraft JAR.

So see if you can find me, sometime. Or better yet, yell at me so we can try exploding one another or somethin'. For now, it is just a basic Minecraft server, but I might get back to patching Minecraft one day soon. Or at least fixing that Java de-compiler so that I can more easily get back to patching Minecraft one day soon.

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Zedd, Jun 2, 2013 01:26

Huh, haven't played Minecraft for a long time. Will have to give it a shot. As a side note, you misspelled 'realitysend.com' in the link on realitysend.net.Arrow Reply

MintMan, Jun 2, 2013 09:23

Ohnos! The oft suggested spelling of my site -- Realty Send: your one stop shop for property-purchasing spam -- strikes againe!

Thanks for pointing it out. And for popping in and falling a lot. Also according to the logs, the server was getting overloaded by your presence. Huh, never noticed any gripes in the log like that for me. Could it be choking up waiting for the long-distant packets?

Oh, wait... I just read it better. Just the system time changing due to the hardware clock on the board being dumb. It thinks it suddenly fell back a coupla years. Everything's dandy!Arrow Reply

Zedd, Jun 2, 2013 17:46

Haha, falling is the way all the cool kids die these days. I was experimenting to see if I could jump into the water from some rainforest trees... And couldn't.

I did notice some lag, but not really any more than I'd expect based on the distances involved. It is pretty funny, though; one can fall, hit the ground, jump, then take the fall damage and die.Arrow Reply

Duth, Jun 3, 2013 04:17

The best things in life are free, after all! And some pretty great things are minimalistic, too.

Turns out I had been thinking of playing Minecraft again. Maybe now I have a reason to!

By the way I checked for some ridiculous reason that doesn't really exist, and it looks more like there's only been 3 anniversaries to have been introduced with "Did you know..."Arrow Reply

Camo, Jun 23, 2013 19:39

I haven't played Minecraft before. Does your version have Nidhoggs?Arrow Reply

MintMan, Jun 26, 2013 21:42

No... but it could~! (Prolly not, tho'.)Arrow Reply

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